I don’t want to run the risk of embarrassing my son later in his life; relaying the matter on my mind tonight may require some careful use of words, so I will simply say this: he is still ‘challenged’ when it comes to ‘making it through the night’. We continue to earmark a portion of our modest monthly income on disposable paper-based products in order to both lessen my workload (otherwise it would be laundry every single day) and to help maintain his dignity. It’s not something he nor I wish for, but apparently, since my brother also had a similar challenge when he was Elihu’s age, it seems there’s a genetic component in the mix. I do not think my son will enter sixth grade (nor fifth, I hope) with this problem. So I don’t really sweat it. It’s a project we will have to work on together. I’ll do what I can, waking him in the night, helping him to remember the task at hand, helping him to make it routine. That’s my take on it. Elihu’s too. But his father has other ideas.
After a rather cryptic email today from his father, the subject line reading simply “visit with Dr. Mark” he tells me that it was “intense” and that we three should talk soon. ?? I’ve called several times with no answer. So I wait. Wait for the call that will unveil the mystery behind the ‘intense meeting’ with Dr. Mark. I did encourage him to take Elihu to his own family doc if he felt he needed to. I don’t know this Dr. Mark, but that’s not what I’m worried about right now.
I also received another message of concern from my near-ex just last week. Fareed was troubled by Elihu’s continuing ‘problem’ and suggested – in a frighteningly cool tone – that perhaps “we should consider circumcision”, as that would have Elihu paying more attention to “that part of his body”. I was aghast. When I told my mother, she panicked, wondering if Fareed might actually have Elihu undergo such surgery while he was there in Illinois. I certainly don’t think he would even attempt it – and I do not believe it would be allowed to happen without my consent. But still, that shocker of a message followed by today’s email and no still word from him, it all has me a little uneasy.
It’s amazing that a man such as my near-ex, who is in so many ways can appear to be a thoughtful, intelligent and sometimes even loving person, can be such an idiot, and so insensitive. The bladder muscles have nothing to do with the skin of a penis. Causing his child undue, unnecessary pain will not help in this situation. And anyway, we both chose to leave our son the way he was designed. We both knew that the trend to circumcise all baby boys in America without question was a modern phenomenon. Without religious or cultural mandates guiding us, we had no obligation to do so. In fact, as the mother of a son, I felt very strongly that it was my job to advocate for his rights not to be circumcised. I realize that Fareed was born into an era when all baby boys were cut as a matter of routine – but come on! To even suggest this so far into the game – at the age of nine! – and to imply that it will stop bed wetting – all of that is in my eyes simply outrageous. But then again, my almost-ex is the rather spoiled only child of wealthy parents, and he is a musician of mini-star stature in some subcultures. Lots of people know him and think he’s quite a guy; he’s accustomed to having things his way. And apparently, having his son circumcised is the ‘way’ he thinks is best.
I know Elihu’s getting ready for bed right about now. I know that he’s fine, and that he’s probably busy doing something. Reading to himself, or maybe to his baby brothers, maybe taking a bath…. He may even be in bed by now. I hope so. Oh but how I’d like to talk to him once before the day ends. Just to know he’s ok. Poor kid. I hope his dad hasn’t added to the shame and embarrassment he already feels about all this.
All I can do is send him my love. And send quieting, peaceful energy to his dad, so that this might all fade away as just another routine challenge of growing up. Because that’s what it is. Even if tonight doesn’t feel very routine for me.
I hope my beloved Elihu sleeps well tonight. I myself could go to bed much with a much lighter heart if only his dad would pick up the phone…